Archive for June, 2011

OSHA Proposes Changes to Recordkeeping Requirements for Dealerships

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

OSHA is currently requesting comments for a proposed regulation change to their recordkeeping requirements.  Currently, new and used car dealerships classified under Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code 5511 are considered a “low risk industry” and are partially exempt from OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements.  In this proposed regulation, in an effort to embrace a new industrial classification system introduced in 1997, OSHA is reclassifying new and used car dealerships as North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code 4411 – Automobile Dealers.  This new classification and the associated injury and illness statistics place dealerships outside the “low risk industry” profile, disqualifying them from the partial exemption.  If this rule is accepted as is, dealers will be required to maintain additional accident information and post summaries of this data at the dealership every year.

Additional changes in this proposed regulation will require businesses to report work-related amputations to OSHA and all work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations.  Currently reporting is only required for work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees.

If you’d like to voice your opinion to OSHA on this proposed regulation  they would love your feedback on the following:

1. Should any additional industries be exempt from any of the recordkeeping requirements in Part 1904?

2. Should OSHA base partial exemptions on more detailed or more aggregated industry classifications, such as two-digit, three-digit, or six-digit NAICS codes?

3. Which industry sectors, if any, should be ineligible for partial exemption?

4. Instead of using an average DART rate of 75 percent of the most recent national DART rate, is there a better way to determine which industries should be included in Appendix A?

5. Should OSHA consider numbers of workers injured or made ill in each industry in addition to industry injury/illness rates in determining eligibility for partial exemption?

6. Are there any other data that should be applied as additional or alternative criteria for purposes of determining eligibility for partial exemption?

7. Should OSHA regularly update the list of lower-hazard exempted industries? If so, how frequently should the list be updated?

8. Are there any specific types of training, education, and compliance assistance OSHA could provide that would be particularly helpful in facilitating compliance with the recordkeeping requirements?

Comments may be submitted online at

Eight Dealership HR Cases in Social Media

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

When to Align Company Safety Policy and Company Culture

Friday, June 24th, 2011

In business, culture predicts outcome. For example, Adoflson & Peterson Construction, won the EHS 2010 America’s Safest Company Award. The company went on to  attain 4.4 million consecutive hours worked without a lost time accident. Another safe company finalist, Armstrong World Industries, Inc is ranked as a top 5 building products company, with the highest free cash flow per share rating. There are many more examples like these that demonstrate the positive relationship between strong safety cultures and successful business outcomes.

Best Practices
Company safety is a direct reflection of the decisions leaders make, the things they say, the systems they implement and oversee, and the value they place on safety with respect to other objectives. It is a combination of company policy- the official rules, and company culture- what employees actually do and say.

There should always be alignment between safety policies and company culture. If company culture doesn’t support all safety policies, then there is a problem.

Addressing the problem looks at the policy first. Ask two questions:

  • Is it in compliance with the latest regulatory updates?
  • Is it specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART)?

If the answer to either is no, then the policy needs to change.

If the problem is not the policy, then the culture needs to change. Safety isn’t something that can be delegated; it has to be part of workplace vales for everyone, from the CEO to each worker. If your company culture is not in alignment with company policy, it is time to change the culture.

How to Change Company Culture

Now is a perfect time for your company to adopt a safety culture. The process is different, depending on if your company is in a stage of growth or a stage of turbulence. If you have been with your company for more than a few years, you know about this. The chart below is from the classic resource, Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow. It is a model of how organizations develop. Basically, it shows that long stages of growth, or evolution, are interrupted by periods of turbulence, or revolution as a company adjusts to market pressures and the company’s growing size.

Approach for Stages of Evolution

During stages of evolution, business goes smoothly and market environments are healthy; profits come relatively easy. Generally, adopting a safety culture would look like a policy shift. To employees, the decision would look like a proactive investment in their well-being.  Characteristics of a change during evolution:

  • Usually starts with senior management
  • Employees see it as a policy shift
  • Focuses on goals like trust, innovation, or fairness

Approach for Stages of Revolution

Stages of revolution could also be called crisis situations. They can be a reaction to tougher markets- like a recession, or from internal pressures- like an unexpected spike in employee turnover. During a crisis, company policies and practices come under review, and companies that are unable to abandon past practices and adopt organizational changes are likely to either fold or level off in growth. The critical task for management is to find a new set of organizational practices that will become the basis for the next stage of growth.

Characteristics of a change during evolution:

  • Usually involves more levels of management
  • Employees see it as a break from current policy
  • Focuses on goals like team-building, management credibility, or precautionary steps

Adopting best safety practices at any time takes planning and tenacity. But it is worth it. Keep in mind the famous line from Tom Northup, a thought leader and author in organizational management, “All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they are now getting. If we want different results, we must change the way we do things.”


Auto Dealerships: Is Your Customer’s Information Really Secure?

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Ever since the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) passed the Safeguards Rule, customer information security has been a hot topic over the past several years for auto dealerships.   The FTC mandates that auto dealerships have a formal, written, and revisable program specifying the steps taken to protect customer’s personal information and prevent unauthorized use of such information.  The three objectives needed in a Customer Information Security Program are:

  1. Secure and insure the confidentiality of customer information.
  2. Defend against anticipated threats to the security of our customer information.
  3. Shield against unauthorized access to, or use of, our customer information.

What are the liabilities an auto dealership faces if no Customer Information Security Program exists or it isn’t implemented and/or communicated fully throughout the organization?  A prominent auto dealership in Colorado learned the hard way, due to two fraud investigations within a few months regarding fraud and forgery of contracts. 

Without a defined Customer Information Security Program, no risk assessment was completed to protect the customers’ information.  It’s not just up to the dealership owner to be ethical, but all employees working for the dealership.   Had there been a specific program in place regarding 1) Employee Training; 2) Information processing, storage, transmission and disposal; and 3) Detection, prevention and reaction to an attack of information systems, this dealership might not be in the predicament they are in and have a permanent black mark on their Colorado Dealer Board record.

More information on the Safeguards Rule for auto dealerships can be found at  HotlinkHR clients have access to a complete compliance program for Red Flags Rules and Customer Information Security included within their subscription.

Want LOHAS Customers? Put Safety First.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

LOHAS is that upscale  market segment with high price elasticity, tremendous brand loyalty, and a deep desire to buy green goods from sustainable companies. Getting a piece of the green market just got “safer” with the June 13, 2011 launch of the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability in Chicago.

“Whatever claim an organization wants to make about being sustainable, they can’t do it unless they’re safe,” says Thomas F. Cecich, VP of Professional Affairs for the center.

The Center is a global collaborative effort from the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), and the U.K.-based Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

The Center is charged with steering how environmental health and safety professionals and systems fit in the framework of organizations’ long-term sustainability.

As an organizational stakeholder of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the center has the resources and focus to establish standards across industries and public policies on a global level. Already, it is making headway in this area, and the center is looking for occupational safety and health professionals to participate in the development of GRI’s G4 Guidelines, to be published in 2013.

Quick Take: Required PPE for Dealership Employees

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Employers are required to provide personal protective equipment at no cost to the employee [OSHA's Final Rule].

Substandard personal protective equipment (PPE) is the sixth most cited auto dealership violation for 2010. OSHA requires the use of PPE to reduce employee exposures to hazards in the workplace, and when used correctly, PPE saves lives and money.

For the most part, state regulatory standards are in line with federal OSHA standards for PPE, but it is a good idea to talk to the KPA engineer in your area to make sure that your facility is in compliance with state and local policies.

Each department at a dealership has to fill out a written PPE hazard assessment.  This assessment includes:

  • descriptions of the department’s  hazards that employees are exposed to on a daily basis
  • PPE provided by the dealership to protect the employee from that hazard.

A typical example of a hazard in located in the parts department would be a key cutting machine.  The hazard is the exposure of the eyes to metal shavings. The dealership would mark that safety glasses are provided to employees when using the key cutting machine.  These assessments must be renewed on an annual basis.

Here is the basic list of personal protective equipment at dealerships (assuming a service bay at the facility):

  • Respiratory: Proper respiratory equipment to protect against particulates and fumes depending on the job function. Make sure to that any employee needing a respirator completes a medical evaluation and a fit test before donning a respirator.
  • Noise exposure: ear plugs, ear protectors, or ear muffs depending on the noise level and length of exposure.
  • Eye and Face Protection: safety goggles, wrap around frames, visors, face shields, masks depending on risk exposures. [related article] Eye and face protection needs to be marked with a manufacturer’s brand (this helps the OSHA inspector determine that the PPE meets with ANSI standards).
  • Proper footwear: work boots, not tennis shoes in the service bay.  Work boots are currently under a cost exemption.  They are the only pieces of PPE that the employer is not required to provide at no cost to the employee.
  • Hand protection: Electric Shock Insulated gloves if working with electrical components [EV service technicians], protection against skin absorption of harmful substances, severe cuts or lacerations, abrasions, punctures, chemical burns, and thermal burns depending on risk exposure.
  • Training: [list of all required training for dealerships, including PPE requirements and frequency]

Watch this two minute video. It explains what kinds of personal protective equipment are needed at the dealership, how to comply with OSHA standards, and a real example of PPE that saved a technician’s head.


Sneak Peak: Interactive Compliance Game

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Watch for the KPA June Newsletter in your inbox on Monday. We’ve got the most pressing topics including state regulations about airbag deployments, electrical vehicle service safety, an HR quiz about sexual harassment, a comprehensive training checklist, and partnership announcements…and more.

Just for fun, here is a sneak-peak of a new article, which is actually a quick, interactive game: Spot the Violations.


Don’t Get Caught in Summer Hiring Traps

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Many businesses will be hiring minors or interns for the summer. Before you hire make sure you are hiring and paying in compliance with both state and federal regulations. Check out the FLSA – Child Labor Rules Advisor and the US DOL Wage and Hour Division’s Employment/Age Certification Issuance Practices Under State Child Labor Laws. The Federal government does not require work permits or proof-of-age certificates for a minor to be employed. However, many states may require them for workers of certain ages. These certificates help to protect the employer from prosecution for employing an under-aged worker. Having these age certificates constitutes a good faith effort to comply with minimum age requirements. To review best practices paying interns go to